Taming Disaster

Taming Disaster

It’s all squarely emerging that the journey to orderliness in Syokimau and Katani (read SyoKitani) rests with the residents on crucial areas touching maintenance of the public utilities, more so the roads, lighting and water.

The fast developing SyoKitani that’s fair to quantify as home to about 80,000 people in the circuit that includes the Greater Syokimau-Katani-Mlolongo and the quarry grounds is in distress.

Syokimau, which serves as main entry to the circuit is accessed via Airport Road, Kiungani Road, Mwananchi Road, Community Road, Parliament Road, the main Katani Road and Quarry Road.

Well, being the most vulnerable entry point into Nairobi from Mavoko Sub County quarries and sand harvesting in Machakos County, Syokimau and indeed the greater SyoKitani neighbourhood has been under intense focus following heavy human influx and vehicular traffic, worse of it all, the trucks.

Situation on the ground, paints a grim picture that unless tougher measures are executed immediately to permeate orderliness in guarding and priding investments that within recent times have shaped Syokimau, this magnificent place would easily cascade to a hotbed of upgraded chaos.

Where is the problem? With approximately 5,000 heavy duty trucks that ply along Quarry Road and occasionally deviating into varied SyoKitani estate feeder roads, the neighbourhood’s corrugated road network is exposed to disastrous damage. One would wonder to whose benefit?

The effort to tame carefree truck drivers by Mavoko Sub County was hailed in June this year. The Sub County authorities issued the Syokimau Residents Association the authority to mount barriers along the main roads. The SyoKitani residents raised funds, erected barriers but to their amazement wayward truck drivers all out to evade weighbridge in Mlolongo went to a spree to damaging the barriers.

Recently, the state of affairs on the fast dilapidating road network has been worsened by the El Nino rains as it digs deeper into gulleys initially created by trucks that subject the roads to rapid ware and tare.

According to John Thiong’o, Syokimau Residents Association chairman, “Both Syokimau and Katani residents have no reason to put any blame on the pounding rains, but to the catch-up plans and slow response of Machakos County authorities who perhaps least appreciate the magnitude of problems raised residents”.

The Syokimau Residents Association guided the County authorities in a tour that ended up identifying seven worst spots a month before the anticipated El Nino but the expected intervention has remained wanting prompting residents to raise money, hire earth digger and paving tractors to fix some of the roads.

At the disposal of the Machakos County was an allocation of millions from the kitty of El Nino Funds, the machinery and of course the authority. All what SyoKitani neighbourhood residents demand is a seamless road infrastructure designed to meet the trends of our time that encourage investment and development in Syokimau, one of the crucial locations in Machakos County.

To improve revenue collection and avert the rapid destruction of roads, the National Government, County Government and the Mavoko Sub-County have purposed to control axle load by mounting mobile weighbridges and, specifically, establishing the Mlolongo Weighbridge.

However, hundreds of over-loaded trucks have continued to play hide and seek with police officers, Weighbridge Officers (SGS) and residents. This has resulted in loss of business for trucks, loss of revenues for governments, arrests, court fines, violent clashes between residents and truck drivers and mounting of road speed bumps and barriers within the enclave to check against noise, dust and over-speeding.

Following the 2011 demolition of hundreds of private dwellings on the KAA land, the loosely fenced expanse of land has become a dumping ground for garbage, black cotton soil and a hideout for criminals noted Mr. Paul Munga who compiled a detailed proposal on behalf of SRA to the Mavoko Sub County.

According to Munga the proposed upgrade of roads in Syokimau to bitumen surface and the forecast of El Nino rains should guide in both design as well as in the main Bill of Quantities. In a bid to create a win-win situation, he reinforced the need for the commercial truck transport owners, government, SGS, KenHA, NTSA, NEMA, KAA, Kenya Police and residents to co-work in attaining a seamless road network in Syokimau.

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